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N. Topsail Announces Deal in Sandbag Case

Signs warn the public to keep off the massive sandbag wall in North Topsail Beach. Photo: Mark Hibbs

NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH – Officials here say the town and other defendants have reached a tentative resolution to a lawsuit filed by 26 property owners over the town’s shoreline restoration projects.

The complaint against the town, an engineering firm, a contractor and subcontractor was filed in May 2015.

Under the resolution, the plaintiffs will collectively pay $450,000 toward an expanded sandbag revetment project. The town will add another $200,000 of money budgeted for the past two fiscal years to the project.

The town said the agreement will entail hiring a third-party engineer to develop a scope of work for the project until a hardened structure can be built at the town’s north end.

One of the terms of the settlement is to obtain releases from non-litigants who were assessed for the project. Those who sign the releases are to receive a 45.3 percent reduction in their assessment. The town said it has obtained releases from all but one property owner, who is expected to sign a release next week. The assessments come due Dec. 1.

Other terms of the agreement include the following:

  • Building an additional crossover in the revetment area, if the state Division of Coastal Management allows it.
  • The town will continue its efforts to pursue a hardened structure at the north end.
  • A committee will be created for the plaintiffs to work with the town to oversee the third-party engineer’s work in an advisory capacity.

Town attorney Brian Edes disclosed the tentative resolution to the town board during its meeting Wednesday. He said the town negotiated the disputed outstanding balances owed to the contractors saving the town about $300,000 in principal and interest.

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.